On Monday, less than a month after ESPN reprimanded Jemele Hill for her tweets about Donald Trump, the network suspended the host two weeks for suggesting fans boycott Dallas Cowboys advertisers.
Immediately after ESPN announced the punishment, many prominent voices within sports media reacted, often strongly. Most who have weighed in are not exactly thrilled to see Hill suspended.
The most notable reaction came from Hill’s SC6 co-host Michael Smith, who will sit out the next show in what was described to The Wrap as a “mutual” decision with ESPN. He will reportedly return to the air Tuesday.
Though the majority of ESPN personalities seem to be sitting this one out, anchors Lindsay Czarniak and Cari Champion criticized their company’s decision.
The suspension of my friend @jemelehill is sad and disappointing on a number of levels
— Lindsay Czarniak (@lindsayczarniak) October 9, 2017
Compromise your integrity? Compromise for comfort?Where can you speak or say how you feel? Or is it about how you say it?
— Cari Champion (@CariChampion) October 9, 2017
Update: It turns out Czarniak no longer works for ESPN.
Some former ESPNers chimed in with criticism as well. Ex-anchor Robert Flores suggested that the suspension of Hill showed how ESPN values money over everything and draws a line at going after advertisers.
Don’t mess with their ?.
That always always always comes first.
— Robert Flores (@RoFlo) October 9, 2017
Bill Simmons seemed to take a shot at ESPN, though he veiled it just enough that we can’t quite say for sure.
Some absolutely atrocious management today. By the way, I'm talking about the Red Sox.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) October 9, 2017
And of course plenty of others in and around sports media offered their two cents.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is an unethical creep
SportsCenter host Jemele Hill speaks the truth
ESPN picking bottom line over what's right
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) October 9, 2017
Anyway, not like I'm a big name, but I'll stand with @jemelehill until my dying day, and more white media need to stand with her, too.
— Julie DiCaro (@JulieDiCaro) October 9, 2017
Jemele Hill, now suspended by ESPN, will be home to watch Hank Williams Jr. — who once compared Obama to Hitler — work for @ESPN tonight.
— Ja'han Jones (@_Jahan) October 9, 2017
anyone surprised by espn treatment of jemele hill should wake up. the guys in charge who sank them w/awful rights deals fired 100 great pros
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 9, 2017
When are all these reporters who stood up for women journalists last week going to stand up for Jemele Hill? #SameEnergy
— Robert Littal (@BSO) October 9, 2017
This should piss every journalist at @ESPN off because this wasn't calling Trump a "white supremacist" or any kind of attack on anyone.
— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) October 9, 2017
It was journalism. Shame on ESPN. Fortuitous that you hired Katie Nolan last week because this is truly garbage time for the #WWL.
— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) October 9, 2017
Stephen A Smith once blamed Ray Rice's wife for her own beating. He got a week. Jemele Hill explained how boycotts work. She got 2 weeks.
— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) October 9, 2017
I'm confused, because when Trump said to boycott NFL stuff, it was cool but when Jemele Hill said to do it, it wasn't cool anymore. Weird
— Alex Kirshner (@alex_kirshner) October 9, 2017
Bill Simmons, Jemele Hill, etc.
ESPN's made it abundantly clear that it cares WAY more about the NFL than any of its employees. https://t.co/HMvTHyqhFW
— Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) October 9, 2017
Jemele Hill proving what @BillSimmons taught us: Nothing gets ESPN more nervous than an employee going after the almighty NFL.
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) October 9, 2017
The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis shared a quote from Hill in which she said she didn’t want to get fired over Twitter.
Jemele Hill to me, this summer, on the dangers of Twitter: pic.twitter.com/t87J1wfMEu
— Bryan Curtis (@bryancurtis) October 9, 2017
ESPN guru Jim Miller suggested that if ESPN can’t abide by a SportsCenter host sharing politics-adjacent opinions on social media, it needs to find a new role for Hill.
Does @jemelehill attachment to @sportscenter brand suggest she has smaller margin of error re social media? If so, time to admit she & #SC6 a bad match. If not, keep your seat belt fastened. #jemelehill
— jamesmiller (@JimMiller) October 9, 2017
And finally, in case you thought maybe the Hill saga was due to die down a bit, Rev. Al Sharpton has gotten involved.
ESPN's suspension of Jemele Hill is an outrage and should NOT go unanswered. ESPN and advertisers will hear from us!
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) October 9, 2017
Time will tell where this story goes from here, but the decision to suspend Hill over her tweets have been and will continue to be incredibly polarizing.